Summary of Work in the Only Industrialized Country Without Paid Maternity Leave

No Sleep, Lots of Pumping, and Just a Pinch of Insanity

The Atlantic,

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Work in the Only Industrialized Country Without Paid Maternity Leave summary
Some argue that paid maternity leave kills jobs, but does failing to provide it carry even higher costs?


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In the United States, guaranteed, paid time off after giving birth is a rare exception, not the rule. Some critics claim that universal mandated leave would hurt the economy and harm small-business owners, but are these concerns valid? In this article, author Jessica Shortall follows the experience of one woman who returned to work just 20 days after giving birth. In the process of telling this mother’s story, Shortall offers a brief history of family leave in the United States, discusses the structures of such programs and explores factors worth considering in the family-leave debate. getAbstract recommends this article to business owners, CEOs, policy makers, economists and working parents.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How existing American family-leave programs function
  • What concerns business owners have about offering paid leave
  • How family leave can benefit both businesses and their employees


Meet “Tara”: She works for a small business and is the financial provider for her family. The company she works for has fewer than 50 employees, so the job protection and leave rules of the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), don’t apply to her. This means Tara’s maternity leave consists of 13...
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About the Author

Jessica Shortall wrote Work. Pump. Repeat: The New Mom’s Guide to Breastfeeding and Going Back to Work.

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